X10 Powerflash Module – Review


As a brief overview, I had the requirement to send an X10 single when someone entered my garden. Initially I attempted to use the MS13H “Hawkeye” X10 PIR, but found that due the amount of foliage (well, weeds!), and the amount of wind we get in our garden, the Hawkeye proved to be unreliable when it was placed in a position to monitor the garden path.

However, we live in a property which is surrounded by large hedges, and as such, the only practical way into the garden is via the garden gate. This is where the SM10E “Powerflash” module came to our rescue!

The Powerflash is basically an X10 module which sends an X10 command on either a low voltage (apparently, including audio, although I haven’t tried this), or on a closed contact. Linking it up to a standard magnetic contact switch gives the ability to monitor when the corresponding door, window, or in this case, garden gate, is opened or closed.

The Powerflash is really a burglar alarm interface (as stated on the back on the module I received from Lets Automate), however the ability to monitor for contact enables a number of uses including X10 notification of the door bell being pressed.

The front of the module contains the standard X10 wheels, a “test” button, an “All lights on” button, and two slide switches to set the various modes of operation. One switch is set for either low voltage, or contact mode whist the other is used for selecting one of the three operation modes.

In Mode 1, the module sends an “All lights on” to the house code, and an appliance on/off to the selected appliance code. Mode 2 sends a flashing all lights on/off, while mode 3 simply sends an on/off to a single device.

For my garden gate monitoring, I simply required mode 3. In this mode, an ON is sent when the gate is closed, while an OFF is sent when the gate is opened (hence, when the magnetic contact is broken). This could cause a problem for people without an intelligent X10 controller, as an “ON” is only sent when the gate is closed, not when the gate is opened. Luckily, using Homeseer, it’s a very easy job to send an “on” to another device when an “off” is received from the Powerflash.

The Unit itself is simply plugged into a mains outlet, and has two screw terminals which are connected to the device to monitor. Installation couldn’t be easier, and took a grand total of about 30 seconds.

My only real complaint about the Powerflash is that is doesn’t support status request, however I’m sure most UK X10’ers are used to this by now! – Anyway, I can always look out the window to see whether the gate is open or closed!

In summary, the Powerflash has not only enabled me to finally get notification of entry via the garden gate (I now know the postman arrives every morning at 7:28, regular as clockwork!), but it has also opened my eyes to a number of other X10 possibilities such as an X10 door bell, or rigging up the PC to the burglar alarm via X10. I also see no reason why contact switches shouldn’t be connected in series to enable one Powerflash module to monitor a number of different entry points, although this would of course not indicate which contact switch had been broken.

Approximate Price £42.00.  Available From Lets Automate

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2 Comments on "X10 Powerflash Module – Review"

  1. Good review, however I have been unable to construct this “device” and action. Suspect it has to do with the “On and Off” status.Using HomeSeet2.
    Could you give me some guidance?
    Joe Peschel Scottadale,AZ, USA

  2. A CM11 programmed with a macro provides a PC free controller. Use EasyX10 or any programm with a macro editor. One trick with macro and these switches is to have the switch set on a differrent house code, to segregate the switches, and get the macro to activate on that switch setting eg B4,off = (X10)A3,on. Basically use switch set on B$ to activate Lamp on A3. Won’t look like this on your macro editor, just an indication of what it may look like.

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